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European Le Mans Series

Silverstone ELMS Weekend Notebook

Jake Kilshaw’s ELMS weekend notebook from Silverstone…

Photo: European Le Mans Series

***Track records have been broken in all three classes this weekend, with the the fastest LMP2 cars going six seconds faster than Harry Tincknell’s previous record from 2015. The best lap time so far was set by Ben Hanley in qualifying, a 1:44.040, which was almost two seconds quicker than the best WEC LMP2 lap time in Friday’s Free Practice 1.

***A time of 1:53.665 from Mikkel Jensen meant that the weekend’s fastest LMP3 time so far was an improvement of two seconds on the class’ standing record, set last year by Alex Brundle. Nicki Thiim qualified with a time of 1:58.269 meanwhile, which was 1.8 seconds better than the standing GTE lap record from Michele Rugolo in 2014.

***Several European Le Mans Series teams took part in a test at Silverstone on Monday, including United Autosports, G-Drive Racing and DragonSpeed.

***Will Owen says the main difference he noticed between racing the Ligier JS P217 Gibson with PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports at Long Beach last weekend and testing the United Autosports car he will drive for the full ELMS season was the lack of tire warmers in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship race, something that became apparent while testing at Silverstone on Monday.

“On Monday, I was so relieved to have warm tires, I just went out there and pushed so hard right away,” he told Sportscar365. “I was up to speed pretty quick because it was comfortable. There’s no walls and you’ve got tires that are already there. On the street course I needed to push a little more and learn how to warm them up, but you can’t because it’s a street course. If you got a little more, you just crash.”

***Many LMP2 teams, including DragonSpeed, Algarve Pro Racing, Graff and United Autosports, have been caught out by new seat belt regulations, and have been given a suspended €1000 fine for utilizing last year’s version. The teams have been asked to obtain the updated belt in time for the next round. 

***Panis Barthez Competition driver Nathanael Berthon will be absent from the next round at Monza, owing to his commitments with Belgian Audi Club Team WRT in the Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup at Silverstone that weekend. His replacement in the No. 23 Ligier JS P217 Gibson will be announced in due course. 

***While several drivers are dividing their time between the FIA World Endurance Championship and ELMS at Silverstone and the British GT Championship at Oulton Park this weekend, Henry Hassid and Simon Gachet will be traveling between Silverstone and Nogaro, for the first round of the GT4 European Series Southern Cup. 

***Vincent Beltoise and Hassid are running as a two-driver lineup in the No. 8 Duqueine Engineering Ligier JS P3 Nissan this weekend but will be joined by Lucas Legeret at Monza. 

***Eurointernational comes to Silverstone with several changes to its two-car LMP3 driver lineup. Giorgio Mondini and Davide Uboldi share the No. 11 Ligier, while Maxwell Hanratty, Andrea Dromedari and Maxime Pialat are in the No. 12 car.

***The Norma M30 Nissan of M.Racing – YMR, which crashed in the Prologue at Monza two weeks ago, is back on track in time for this weekend’s action, with the car fully repaired in time. However, Gwenael Delomier remains injured following the accident, and so has been replaced by Erwin Creed in the car.

***The entire GTE field is running with Dunlop tires for the third consecutive season, with a new soft slick tire, as well as mediums, intermediates and wets available for teams.

***Proton Competition has only brought one Porsche 911 RSR for the ELMS race, the No. 77 car driven by Joel Camathias, Matteo Cairoli and Christian Ried. Wolf Henzler had been the only driver listed in the No. 88 car, which has now been withdrawn.

***It is not yet known whether the No. 88 car will enter the next round at Monza or not, but it is on the provisional Le Mans entry list and so would be expected to run the remainder of the ELMS season.

***Ex-Beechdean AMR driver and reigning ELMS GTE champion Alex MacDowall, who has been replaced this year by Ross Gunn in the team’s Aston Martin Vantage GTE, has signed a deal to race alongside Klaus Bachler in a Porsche 911 GT3 R for Schutz Motorsport in the ADAC GT Masters series.

***Saturday’s four-hour race is set to kick off at 2:30 p.m. local time and will be streamed on the series’ website, YouTube and Dailymotion channels. 

John Dagys and Laurent Mercier contributed to this report.

Jake Kilshaw is a UK-based journalist. He is a graduate of Politics and International Relations.


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